André Rieu very rarely listens to music in private
Which audiences or whichever city in particular are you looking forward to in 2015?
That is very hard to say. Every city has its own peculiarities. The German audience knows the music we play very well and they have been coming to us for years. That’s wonderful. In June we will also be in Romania for the first time and conduct open air concerts there. To go to a new country for the first time is always something very special. I believe it is the mix of tradition like we have in Germany and in new countries such as China, Taipei and Singapore in 2014, which makes my job just like always fulfilling and exciting.
Which personality in the music industry in 2015 are we still going to see and hear?
I hope many talented young violinists.
Do you listen to a lot of music at home?
Not really. I rarely listen to music in private, and never in the car. I relax a lot better by cooking, reading, or playing with my grandchildren.
With which music did you grow up?
Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Wagner. My father was a conductor. The Beatles totally passed me by. No sex, drugs or rock 'n' roll. At home, only classical music was played. My siblings and I all learned one or more instruments. Music was work then, and not fun.
Is there a style of music which you cannot get along with? And if so, why?
Yes, there is. For me, music has to have a tune and harmony. With contemporary classical music, I can do very little, others should do that. It also does not interest me, since it just is not mine. And rap or heavy metal I would definitely not play, it just does not fit. But good pop and rock music, why not?!
What is the status in principle to the classics, what does the future hold with respect to classical music?
I hope a lot of new, young audiences. The classical music world needs time to descend from its high pedestal. Why not speak with the audience during concerts? Bernstein did that, he had the audience and many young people involved. Why does everyone have to look so serious, as if someone had just died, no matter what kind of music they play? I have 120 permanent employees, and my orchestra is the largest private orchestra in the world. No one is crazy enough to afford his own orchestra. I do not receive subsidies - I have to sell tickets and CD's to keep the business running. And I do that, amongst other things, by playing classical music. And it works. You just have to try to make the people go home happy.
Do you have something like a ritual before your performances?
Not necessarily a ritual, but a steady routine. Before each concert I take a nap, we eat together with the orchestra, and I tune the instruments with everyone individually.
What do you associate with Berlin?
Lots. My father-in-law lived in Berlin before the war up until he fled; my wife's family is Jewish. He was a very great Charleston dancer and at that time could only take his record collection with him. Marjorie and I both love the city very much, we "still have a suitcase in Berlin", in the truest sense of the word. Always longing to return. In 2015 the Berlin Comedian Harmonists will be going on tour with us. A tribute to the years of the 20s and 30s of this city.
Is there anything with which you cannot go without on trips?
Apart from my Stradivarius I would say that I cannot travel without my phone, without photos of my family or without my red sofa.
What would you like to read about yourself in 2015 in the newspaper?
I have no idea ... anyway I never read any article about me.
Thanks to John for the Translation